Title. Systematic reviews of bladder training and voiding programmes in adults: a synopsis of findings from data analysis and outcomes using metastudy techniques
Aim. This paper reports a comparison of the data analysis and outcomes from four Cochrane systematic reviews on bladder training and voiding programmes for the management of urinary incontinence using metastudy descriptive techniques to inform clinical practice, generate new ideas and identify future research directions.
Background. Bladder training is used for cognitively and physically able adults to regain continence by increasing the time interval between voids. Prompted voiding, habit retraining and timed voiding, collectively known as voiding programmes, are generally used for people with cognitive and physical impairments in institutional settings. Bladder training and voiding programmes feature as common clinical practice for the management of urinary incontinence.
Methods. A synopsis of four Cochrane systematic reviews that included randomized controlled trials on bladder training, prompted voiding, habit retraining and timed voiding was undertaken using metastudy techniques for the synthesis of qualitative research, and has provided a discursive comparison and contrast of the meta-data analysis and outcomes of these reviews.
Results. Frequency of incontinence was the most common and constant outcome measure of effectiveness in the reviews. Limited data were available on other health outcomes, change in dependency status, quality of life and cost-effectiveness. The systematic review on bladder training included different types of urinary incontinence, whereas those on voiding programmes did not differentiate the type of incontinence. There is evidence on the effectiveness of bladder training but long-term follow up studies are needed. Evidence on the effectiveness of voiding programmes is limited and not available for many outcomes.
Conclusion. Future research needs to consider the theory underpinning interventions for bladder training and voiding programmes for urinary incontinence and should incorporate recognized ‘quality’ research designs, established outcomes and long-term follow up. It is unclear whether health outcomes for people with comorbidities, cognitive and physical impairments will improve if extensive diagnostic and assessment investigations are undertaken.